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Gila River Indian Community

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WASHINGTON (AP) ? President Bush signed a law April 4 that could help the Gila River Indian Community become the home to the NFL's Arizona Cardinals' new stadium.

Tribal officials dropped their stadium bid two weeks ago, but Arizona lawmakers are considering legislation that could bring them back into the mix.

The law allows contract disputes arising on the Gila River reservation to be resolved in federal court rather than in tribal court.

It was a key assurance that businesses and contractors wanted before they would consider building the new Cardinals' stadium on the reservation, Rep. J. D. Hayworth, R-Ariz., said while arguing for his legislation on the House floor last month.

'This could have much broader implications for the tribal community as far as encouraging economic development,' Hayworth said April 4.

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Although the tribe is no longer competing for the stadium, it could jump back into the race if the Arizona Legislature passes a law allowing Indian tribes to provide land for the $350 million stadium.

But Gary Bohnee, spokesman for the tribe, said he did not anticipate any legislative activity that could draw the tribe back into the mix.

'We've withdrawn and we're not actually doing anything at this time,' he said. 'Whatever comes out of the Legislature would not change the (tribe's governing) committee's mind about getting back into the process.'

Bohnee said the law would help with other business development on the reservation, including a planned resort community that was to be adjacent to the stadium.

Last November, construction was halted on the Cardinals' new stadium in Tempe, Ariz., after the Federal Aviation Administration said it could pose a hazard to planes at nearby Sky Harbor International Airport.

The Gila River site was a site finalist for a replacement site, along with Mesa, Ariz.