Seeing Nakshatras relevant to Signs
Yes, its a division of the ecliptic and originally it seems they were simply named after deities, not stars. I think the habit of calling them by the stars came into vogue later.
They had two systems, one division of 27 and one division of 28, used for different techniques. The stars named after the nakshatras do not always fall into the ecliptic portion of the nakshatra and even more of them are nowhere near the ecliptic as they are too far north or south to fall into the ecliptic belt that the planets move through.