Apple has apologized to Brendan Eshom of Prince Rupert for deleting his popular Sm’algyax language app. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Apple has apologized to Brendan Eshom of Prince Rupert for deleting his popular Sm’algyax language app. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Apple apologizes to B.C. man for removing First Nations app

Apple says deletion of popular language app a “miscommunication”

Tech-giant Apple has apologized to a Prince Rupert student for removing his highly-successful First Nation’s language app.

As first reported by Black Press Media on Jan. 28, Brandon Eshom, a first-year UBC student, was mistakenly accused of violating Apple’s policies and “fraudulent behaviour”.

“These were serious accusations against me. I never did learn what I did wrong,” Eshom said. “They said I broke their agreements and they were going to terminate my developer account.”

Eshom said he was completely bewildered and frustrated trying to learn what the issues were for Apple or how he could fix anything with no information coming back to him. Emails were the only way of communicating with the company, he said, which were doing nothing by running him in circles. When he finally did get a phone number he was connected with a robot that just repeated the verbiage of the previously sent emails.

Finally, Eshom receive an email from Apple that stated:

“Maintaining the integrity of the App Store is a responsibility we take seriously to ensure the safety of our customers, and give every developer a platform to share their brightest ideas with the world. Unfortunately, this developer’s app, which is a great example of how technology can be used to bridge cultural understanding, was mistakenly removed from the App Store.”

As part of the Prince Rupert And District Chamber of Commerce Rising Stars program in 2020, Eshom created a Sm’algyax word app, which he used as his ‘passion project’ during the business mentorship program. Brendan’s app was so successful it reached 104 in Apple’s Top 200 ranked apps in July 2020. In the first week, it had more than 600 downloads in the education category.

Eshom’s mom, a member of the Gitga’at First Nation from Hartley Bay, where he spent much time with his grandmother growing up. He learned from his grandmother that preserving the traditions and languages were imperative to pass on to future generations. Brendan wanted to learn the Sm’algyax language but his high school timetable couldn’t accommodate the scheduling, so as an entrepreneurial problem solver he found a way to teach himself. He jumped forward with the development of a Sm’algyax word of the day website.

“It is absolutely vital to learn the language. My grandmother’s family always encouraged and taught me to overcome any impediments to learning the language,” Brendan said. One of those impediments were laws of the day, he said.

“It feels like it’s my responsibility to take it back and build on what other people have done. I need to promote it. In the past, that wouldn’t have been possible for someone my age. I don’t want to look back in 20 years and wonder ‘Could I have done more?’ It’s important to take that opportunity now.”

His family and his 95-year old great-grandmother who is a fluent Sm’alygax speaker and still lives in Hartley Bay were his inspiration he told the Prince Rupert Northern View.

“I’ve been taught to do as much as you can when you are young. It’s important to encourage language as soon as you can.”

“Basically, my efforts are just to sustain and strengthen the Sm’alygax language.”

READ MORE: Heart of our City: Brendan Eshom

READ MORE: Prince Rupert public is invited to support Sm’algyax promotion platform


K-J Millar | Journalist
Send K-J email
Like the The Northern View on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

This year, athletes from across the province competed for top honours at the Christy Fraser Memorial Gymnastics Invitational by recording their performances on video for judges (Langley Advance Times file)
Langley’s Christy Fraser Memorial gymnastics competition goes virtual

Unable to compete in person, athletes recorded their performances for judges

Metal plaques have been pried from the base of Steve Ryan’s Langley City statues, “The Traders,” seen on Sunday, Feb. 28, at Innes Corners plaza (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Metal plaques pried from base of historic statues in Langley City

“The Traders,” who stand facing each other on Innes Corners plaza, was among the targeted sculptures

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Aldergrove Credit Union's Willoughby branch opens March 9. (Ryan Uytdewilligen/Special to The Star)
Aldergrove Credit Union puts finishing touches on new Willoughby location

Branch’s soft opening to be held Tuesday, March 9, grand opening on March 27

Charlie Fox was leading as of 9 p.m. with five of six main polls and one advance poll reporting. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
UPDATED: Fox expected to become new Langley school trustee

With all but the mail-in ballots counted, Fox was being acknowledged as the winner

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Alina Durham, mother of Shaelene Bell, lights candles on behalf of Bell’s two sons during a vigil on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO and PHOTOS: Candlelight vigil for missing Chilliwack woman sends message of hope

Small group of family, friends gathered to shine light for 23-year-old mother Shaelene Bell

Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Most Read