Dr. Thurman Hornbuckle (1953-2001) was a professor of veterinary clinical medicine at the University of Illinois.

Dr. Thurman Hornbuckle, a Cherokee Native American, was born on a reservation in the town of Cherokee, North Carolina in 1952. His great-grandfather, Wolf, was driven on the Trail of Tears by the U. S. Army under the direction of President Andrew Jackson, who forced the Cherokee to relocate in Oklahoma. On the trail, his wife and six children died, but Wolf escaped and returned to North Carolina where he changed his name to Comeback Wolf. When Comeback Wolf died, someone planted an oak tree on his grave because he wanted the tree there to prevent people from taking him away again. Dr. Hornbuckle was born into the Wolf clan because his mother, Luvenia Bradley and his grandmother, Lydia Wolf, were part of the Wolf clan. Starting at the age of five, Dr. Hornbuckle met regularly with the tribal elder, Sim Jessan, who taught him about indigeneous medicine, love, respect, and sharing during his elementary school years. Because of this training, Dr. Hornbuckle became a part of the medicine clan.

For centuries Native Americans knew about plant medicines like aspirin (salicylic acid) which they got from willow bark, and digitalis from the foxglove plant which helped to treat heart problems. The Native Americans used these medicines in teas to help people. The white man later discovered these medicines. When Dr. Hornbuckle started elementary school, he went to the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) school which was on the reservation. He said that none of the Native American students did well in this school because they were used to learning from nature in a way called earth wisdom, not from reading books about Dick and Jane  and a dog named Fluffy. The Native American children knew a lot about plants and animals, but not about the things they were taught in school. When he was a senior in high school, he and five other students went to Atlanta, Georgia, where they learned more about math and chemistry. When he asked for advice about college, Sim Jessan said that it would be a good idea to go, he would be like a scout and tell other Native Americans what he found there.

At first it was hard for him to get into college but Dr. Hornbuckle earned his BS and MS degrees in environmental health sciences from East Tennessee State University. After this, he worked with the Indian Health Service before getting his Veterinary Medicine Degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He was the first Native American to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania and the first member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, to become a veterinarian. Some examples of discrimination against Native Americans experienced by Dr. Hornbuckle were when he was in North Carolina and was going to board a bus, he and his family had to sit in the back of the bus behind a black line even if the seats in front of the black line were empty. If there was not enough room in the back of the bus, they would get off and wait for the next bus. Another example was when Dr. Hornbuckle was traveling in Tennessee in 1969-1970 and wanted to use the washroom at the bus station. He was confused when he saw doors marked Colored People Only and doors that said Whites Only. When he asked a nice black gentleman about which door to use, the man advised him to use the doors for Colored People. As recently as 1978, he saw signs above restaurants that said, "No Indians Allowed" and he said there are still some restaurants like that today in Michigan and Minnesota.

As a professor of veterinary clinical medicine at the University of Illinois, he took his students to farms and other natural areas, he examined the animals and talked to the students about what the animals eat and how their surroundings affect them. 

On Saturday, April 4, 1992, Dr. Hornbuckle and other Native Americans went to Dickson Mounds. They wanted to close the display of Native American remains and stop the digging up of Indian ancestors. For years the bodies at Dickson Mounds have been on display. Their sacred burial grounds were made into a business for tourists. According to Dr. Hronbuckle, the display denied respect for indigeneous people. The display is now closed to the public. Native Americans believe the bodies require respectful reinterment. In his spare time, Dr. Hornbuckle liked to carve wooden figures, make beaded necklaces, and furniture. He believes everyone should be treated equally and with respect. He worked for peace and equality in our world.

He passed away in 2001 at his St. Joseph home.