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

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports 16 new COVID-19 cases

423 cases remain active in the region

Leith Olafson being congratulated by Jerry Bancks. Photo submitted
Selkirk Sports School wraps up season

A very different year due to COVID-19

Pictured are Meredith Funston of Cranbrook Food Recovery (left), Shannon Grey Duncan of Kimberley Food Recovery (middle) and Wade Jarvis of Bohemian Spirits (right). The three have teamed up to divert bread from the landfill and turn it into ethanol, which is used to make hand sanitizer. (Corey Bullock file)
Cranbrook, Kimberley organizations team up to turn excess bread into ethanol

Local food recovery programs have teamed up with Bohemian Spirits to keep bread out of the landfill

ANKORS held a march in Cranbrook on Aug. 31, 2020 for Overdose Awareness Day. Corey Bullock photo.
10 overdose deaths in Cranbrook last year: BC Coroners Service

There were 10 suspected illicit drug toxicity deaths in the Cranbrook local… Continue reading

The BC Alpine Ski Team is training in Kimberley, allowed to travel and train in the province of B.C. under current regulations as elite athletes. Paul Rodgers photos.
BC Alpine Ski Team trains in Kimberley

As elite athletes, the team is allowed to travel in B.C. under current PHO guidelines

The area on Cordova Bay Road where ancestral human remains were discovered Feb. 22. (Submitted photo)
Human remains discovery a reminder of B.C. Indigenous culture dug up and displaced

‘These are the people who inspired and birthed the generations that we now have here’

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

(Black Press file photo)
Agassiz boy, 11, dies from ‘extensive injuries’: Homicide team

Agassiz RCMP were called out Friday to assist with a child in medical distress

Most Read