It's what cowans call “tradition”: heft.
It's an old word, a Northern word, from the Norse hefð. It's ultimately from the same root as have, heave, and haven, because heft—tradition—is what we have, what we hold and hold to.
It's a noun: both what (and where) we hold to, and those of us hefted—traditioned—thus. So we are our heft. The Driftless Area is our homeland, our heft.
It's a verb: used of a person or people, it means to hold to, to maintain. We heft the Old Ways here.
It's an adjective: hefted, describing those so held; the state of being traditioned, for as we hold heft, so heft holds us.