Prince Rupert teen’s Sm’algyax learning app restored to Apple app store

brendan polopoly photo

A Prince Rupert teenager who developed an app that teaches daily words in the Sm’algyax language is celebrating its return to the Apple store after it was mistakenly removed last year. 

Brendan Eshom from the Gitga'at First Nation debuted the Sm'algyax Word app in July as a way to share his cultural language with others and teach it to himself at the same time. 

However, not long after it debuted, the app was taken off the Apple store. Eshom said he got an e-mail from Apple that accused him of fraud.

"I found it was taken off the app store by an automated e-mail by Apple. It was quite strange, I thought it was a mistake. I learned it was, but it took a long time to learn it was a mistake. Apple initially just said I committed fradulent behaviour and dishonest acts, which seemed like quite a serious allegation."

Eshom tried to contact Apple to learn about why the app was taken down, but he said he wasn't able to learn anything.

Eventually he reached out to a journalist from Global BC, who later contacted Apple herself. 

Within a few days, the app had been restored and Eshom had received an apology.

"It feels absolutely great to have the app back. It was concerning for myself and for many others. For many months it was taken down, but to have it back it's going to be able to further the message that I'm trying to send, as well as further Tsimshian culture and tradition"

Eshom also said that the publicity surrounding his app's removal from the Apple Store has increased the app's popularity. He described as a silver lining to the situation.