Wawanaquassick: “Where the Heaps of Stones Lie”

… there was a place the Natives called Wawanaquassick, “where the heaps of stones lie,” near the banks of the Nanapenahakan (“the stream that runs through our land”) Creek. Today the site is Churchtown, named after a church built there by the white settlers. But the spot was once a shrine, which the Natives honored by piling stones. The Mohegan approaching the site would pick up a suitable rock and carry it with them, and then place it on the pile. Sometimes such piles were  shrines to a great person who had died, sometimes they were simple shrines intended to inspire those who passed by. This was an ancient custom among the Algonquin people everyone made an offering.

—from Native New Yorkers, Evan T. Pritchard, page 290

 © T.H. Forbes Co., 2015