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

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Murder charge laid in February 2020 stabbing death of Smithers man

Michael Egenolf is charged with the second-degree murder of Brodie Cumiskey

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

The school is very proud of these students (pictured, left to right): Halim Demir (holding Grace Valdez’ gold certificate); Lauren McIlwain, Shayleen Mack, Jaymen Schieck, Kyle Doiron, and Finn Carlson (photo submitted)
SAMS students excel in international competition

The SAMS team swept their category this year; all six participants received awards

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

The avalanche came down on the highway sometime Sunday evening (Feb. 21) (Dawson photo)
Road to Bella Coola wharf reopens after large avalanche

The road was closed after a large avalanche covered a significant portion of the highway

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

The south coast of B.C. as capture by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission. (European Space Agency)
VIDEO: Images of B.C.’s south coast from space released by European Space Agency

The satellite images focus on a variety of the region’s landmarks

A copy of the book “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” by Dr. Seuss, rests in a chair, Monday, March 1, 2021, in Walpole, Mass. Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the business that preserves and protects the author and illustrator’s legacy, announced on his birthday, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, that it would cease publication of several children’s titles including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo,” because of insensitive and racist imagery. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
6 Dr. Seuss books won’t be published for racist images

Books affected include McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat’s Quizzer

FILE – Oshawa Generals forward Anthony Cirelli, left, shoots and scores his team’s first goal against Kelowna Rockets goalie Jackson Whistle during second period action at the Memorial Cup final in Quebec City on Sunday, May 31, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
B.C. government approves plan in principle to allow WHL to resume in the province

League includes Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets, Prince George Cougars, Vancouver Giants, Victoria Royals

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

The fundraising effort to purchase 40 hectares west of Cottonwood Lake announced its success this week. Photo: Submitted
Nelson society raises $400K to save regional park from logging project

The Nelson community group has raised $400,000 to purchase 40 hectares of forest

AstraZeneca’s vaccine ready for use at the vaccination centre in Apolda, Germany, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Reichel/dpa via AP
National panel advises against using Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on seniors

NACI panel said vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are preferred for seniors ‘due to suggested superior efficacy’

A public health order has extended the types of health care professionals who can give the COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy of CHI Franciscan)
‘It’s great that midwives are included’ in rollout of B.C.’s COVID vaccine plan, says college

The order will help the province staff the mass vaccination clinics planned for April

Most Read